Konerko: Sale 'tough kid, wants to be great'

CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox team captain Paul Konerko takes special pride in beating the contenders this time of the season.

The 37-year-old first baseman drove in two runs in support of All-Star pitcher Chris Sale, who dominated against the defending American league champion Detroit Tigers. Sale allowed just one run in his seven innings of work.

“He is just one of those special guys on a short list out there,” Konerko said of Sale. “He is an ace, a tough kid who wants to be great, not just good.”

Konerko and his teammates have been embarrassed by one of the worst seasons in White Sox franchise history. That aside, he was pleased to help put some runs on the board for Sale, who has had the fourth-worst average run support in baseball this season (3.26 per game).

It was an excellent pitching matchup, with Max Scherer coming into the game at 19-2.

“It was good to get our guy a win,” Konerko said. “We have come up short for him a lot this year when he was throwing some great games. It was nice to give him a win against somebody that probably will win the Cy Young.”

The veteran Arizona native can become a free agent in November; however he has yet to announce if he will continue to play after his 16th season ends on Sept. 30.

“It has definitely not been fun,” Konerko said. “We have lost way more than we thought we were going to lose, that is for sure. You can get comfortable with that, and that is the part you have to watch out for.

“Guys in here have done a good job of coming in here and breaking it down to one day at a time. The idea is to forget about the record. We really have been pretty good at that, considering the circumstances of where it has gotten to. It could be worse. We still have guys working and doing it the right way.”

Konerko is no hypocrite when it comes to work ethic. He went to the batting cage for a 20-minute session with coaches after the Sox had defeated the Tigers 5-1 on Monday evening.